San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
FIFA scandal

FIFA suspends Eduardo Li for life

Disgraced former Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) president Eduardo Li has been banned from soccer for life, according to a Friday announcement from the sport’s governing body, FIFA.

The ban handed down by FIFA’s independent ethics committee was triggered by Li’s guilty plea to racketeering in the United States as part of the Justice Department’s massive investigation into fraud across world football.

Li had been the head of FEDEFUTBOL from 2007 until his arrest in Zurich in May of 2015 by Swiss police acting on a U.S. warrant. He was among the first seven FIFA-related officials to be arrested as part of the corruption scandal.

The adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics watchdog, chaired by Hans-Joachim Ecker,t said Li had broken a series of FIFA’s rules governing bribery, corruption and conflict of interest.

“As a consequence, the official is banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level,” a statement announced.

At a New York federal court in October, Li admitted to extortion and fraud after taking more than $500,000 in illicit payments for steering match marketing rights to a private firm. The U.S. Department of Justice had also accused Li of laundering money between the United States and Central America.

In addition to being the head of FEDEFUTBOL, Li served as a member of CONCACAF’s executive board, administrating football in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

He is still awaiting a possible sentencing in the U.S., where each of the three charges to which he pled guilty carries a maximum of 20 years’ prison time.

 

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